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Frequently asked questions about Wikimedia Cloud VPS and Toolforge.

Are you confused by new terms used on Wikimedia Cloud VPS? Hopefully this page will help.

Note: If you know all this, but you are looking for more technical details, see Help:Terminology.

What is Wikimedia Cloud VPS?

Wikimedia Cloud VPS (or Cloud VPS) is a cloud computing infrastructure powered by OpenStack for projects related to the Wikimedia movement. Volunteer contributors can use this infrastructure to create and maintain open source software projects.

Cloud VPS is divided into projects. Each project has separate members and administrators who can create and maintain virtual machines ("instances") for use by that project. Each project can have own its own access policies, DNS records, etc.

For help with Cloud VPS, see Help:Cloud Services Introduction.

What is Toolforge (aka Tools)?

Toolforge is one of the projects hosted by Wikimedia Cloud VPS. The Toolforge administrators manage a pool of virtual servers that provide a shared project hosting environment that can be used by Toolforge users. These resources include web servers, databases and other data storage, and a distributed job processing system. These services provide a reliable and scalable hosting environment for volunteers to develop and operate their tools and bots.

Users of the Toolforge project create "tool" accounts (technically service groups) which allow one or more users to collaborate to manage the software source code, configuration, and jobs for that tool or bot.

For help with Toolforge, see Help:Toolforge.

What is the difference between Cloud VPS and Toolforge?

shortcut: Help:Cloud VPS vs Toolforge

Cloud VPS is an Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution. It provides virtual machines, storage, firewall, and HTTPS proxy resources to projects. The members of each individual project are responsible for managing applications, data, runtime, middleware, and OSes themselves.

Toolforge is a Platform as a service (PaaS) solution. It provides web servers, databases and other data storage, and a distributed job processing system as managed services that can be used by tools and their maintainers.

What is a Project?

A project is a unit of privilege separation inside the Cloud VPS environment. Each project has separate management of membership, virtual machines, HTTPS proxies, firewall rules, etc. Examples of projects include Toolforge and the Beta Cluster.

What is an Instance?

An instance is a virtual machine that hosted inside Wikimedia Cloud VPS. Every instance belongs to a project. An example of an instance is "tools-exec-02".

What is Cloud VPS for?

Wikimedia Cloud VPS is for the volunteers to get involved in Wikimedia operations and software development. Cloud VPS contains many projects, each of which uses one or more instances. Toolforge is one of the most important projects in Wikimedia Cloud VPS.

How does Cloud VPS work?

Wikimedia Cloud VPS is a virtualization cluster and hosts various virtual machines (called instances) using OpenStack Compute.This is slightly different from your normal servers that you ssh to (i.e. Toolserver), as virtual machines do not exist physically, but reside inside a much bigger machine called the host machine. More details about the physical setup of Cloud VPS can be found under Portal:Cloud_VPS/Infrastructure.

I am new to Wikimedia Cloud VPS. What should I do next?

If you haven’t done so, create a user account here on Wikitech. Go through our Getting Started and Help documents. If you want more help drop by our irc channel ##wikimedia-cloud connect channel on Freenode or drop a mail to our mailing list cloud mailing list and ask for help.

I have a project idea. How can I request a new project?

If you haven’t done so, create a user account on Wikitech. If you need to create a new project for your development work, place your request on phabricator. You can also get help by dropping by our irc channel on Freenode (#wikimedia-cloud connect) or sending a mail to our mailing list .

I want to contribute to an existing project. where can I find the project list ?

List of projects

How can I contact a human? (How can I get help from a human)

Drop by our irc channel on Freenode (#wikimedia-cloud connect) or send a mail to our mailing list cloud mailing list.

What is shell access?

Shell access to Wikimedia Cloud VPS gives you the ability to access the virtual machine instances. It depends on your accounts access rights and the projects you have been assigned. Only project admins are allowed to create and manage instances.

What is Puppet?

Puppet is a configuration management system. When instances are created, they build themselves according to a set of rules (manifests, template, and files) defined by puppet. learn more about puppet.

What is gerrit?

Gerrit is a code review system that manages git repositories. It will provide a simple framework for reviewing every commit before it is accepted into the code base. When a volunteer submit a patch it is reviewed using Gerrit by the project admins before it gets merged to the code base. See the Gerrit tutorial on for more information.

What is a bastion instance?

For security purposes most lab instances cannot be directly accessed from the Internet. To log in to other instances a bastion instance is used. The Cloud VPS bastion ( is accessible by every wikitech account holder with shell access.

Where can I find other Cloud VPS Terminology explained?

On Terminology page.

What were Wikimedia Labs and Tool labs?

These were the old names for Wikimedia Cloud VPS and Toolforge. Starting in mid-2017 they were renamed to clarify how they differ from each other. You may still see the terms used on this wiki and others in the Wikimedia movement. If you do, be bold and update the pages to use the new terms.